An Opinion Written By Kurt Davis
I have never been a fan of the number 13. Not because of any superstition (I am not a superstitious person), but because in the political calendar, 13 has repeatedly been a series of bad years for our nation and the body politic. For example, in 1813 the United States was at war with England for a second time and had lost a significant battle that allowed the Brits to capture Fort Niagara Falls and then burn much of Buffalo to the ground. It was a reversal of American success that year and paved the way for the attacks on Washington D.C. where our freedom was precariously at risk once again to the English Monarchy.
In 1913, the 16th Amendment is ratified and the Federal Government begins its massive growth spurt that forever changes the lives of Americans by allowing the fruits of our labor to be taxed through implementation of the income tax. The nation’s first income tax is flat and at a rate of 1%. What would we give to have those days back? In another move to “reform” our governance, the 17th Amendment was ratified. From then on, voter’s directly elect their U.S. Senators versus a system established by our Founders to balance the populist impulses of voters by having state legislature’s approve statesmen and women to serve as the counter balance to the “people’s house.” Runaway populism takes off in America and the beginning of the end of statesmanship marches forward…it is an issue we still grapple with today. Just look at the approval ratings of Congress to see what has happened since 1913.
That brings us to 2013. A year our nation remained at war in faraway lands, with almost no one paying attention to the needless losses, except for the families of those who selflessly serve all of us. 2013 was also the year when the federal government launched a government run health care system (ObamaCare) designed to be a “stalking horse” for a single payer system which will effectively take over 18% of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The failed launch of ObamaCare included the unveiling of a $400 million dollar website that crashed and burned, giving us a glimpse into what will happen to the world’s finest healthcare system, once the bureaucracy has its full death grip on it. And in 2013, the US Congress passed the least amount of legislation in our nation’s history, because a weak Administration, a bloated and broke bureaucracy, coupled with the full impact of regionally based populism has become the unelected ruler of our national government.
Yet, the most “Unlucky 13” event was our nation’s willingness to sit by and trade “freedom for security.” In 2013, we watched the radical expansion of government spying and monitoring tactics that would have even made Joseph Stalin blush. From phone call listening, email reading, video game monitoring to drones buzzing the skies monitoring the conversations and interactions of ordinary Americans and even our allies’ leaders…we as Americans in 2013 became numb to a government that is testing, piercing and obliterating our constitutional rights to privacy and freedom from an omnipotent centralized power. Terms like “NSA”, “Snowden”, “eavesdropping” and “national security” became words in a lexicon and hopefully will not become a part of the analysis in history books about 2013, where we gave up the “pursuit of happiness” in exchange for “safety.” So nothing against the unlucky 13 number, but I am really glad to see a 14 on the calendar. Happy New Year!
Kurt Davis can be found on twitter @KurtRDavis.